It’s another beautiful day in Colorado–the sun is shining, the snow is twinkling and I’m inside in my yoga pants (what else?) reading a book, when I suddenly had a thought.
“What could make this picture better?”. Hot chocolate and a warm, sweet muffin, duh!!
Thus my Hippie Hot Chocolate and Lemonbalm-Rosehip Muffins were born. And lucky you, I am sharing those recipes here!
Why not just regular hot chocolate? Why add elderberries? Why bother putting rosehips and lemonbalm into muffins?
Most of the food Americans eat is processed, packaged, and with synthetically derived, isolated vitamins added in. Even if you eat well, lots of plant-based foods from the grocery store, you are still limited in your phytonutrient-variety.
Phytonutrients are nutrients found in plants, herbs, seeds, nuts, and grains. There are literally thousand and thousands of phytonutrients in whole foods. Some we have named and have an idea of what they do in the body (like lycopenes, resveratrol, carotinoids) and some just go by their chemical structure and we don’t know their exact purpose in the body yet.
One reason we are limited in our phytonutrient exposure is because we simply don’t have the variety and abundance of produce we used to. At the turn of the century there were almost 500 varieties of lettuce and 288 varieties of beets available to name a few!! Each variation is going to have different phytonutrients in different concentrations.
These days we are lucky to find 4 or 5 different lettuces. Maybe 2-3 types of beets. If you grown your own food from heirloom seeds or shop at farmers markets you are probably doing better than most, but the point is that our modern society has a VERY LIMITED selection of produce, thus the nutrients we need to get from them for our bodies to function optimally.
Another thing to consider is that most of the produce in grocery stores is grown in nutrient-depleted soils (which makes the plants nutrient-depleted), sprayed with pesticides, picked weeks before it is ripe, shipped across the country or the world, before it ends up on your grocery shelf.
How “vital” and life-giving are these foods? How many phytonutrients are we getting? How much nourishment are they really providing?
Yes, you read that right. Taking vitamins is NOT the answer. Multi-vitamins are a handful of isolated chemicals, amplified 1000’s of times their normal concentrations, in what we *think* is a good ratio. In nature, vitamins are never found isolated. An orange may only contain about 60mg of Vitamin C, but it does contain thousands and thousands of other phytonutrients that have an additive or synergistic effect making eating the whole orange a much better and more complete choice than taking vitamin C. (PS-I don’t take multi-vitamins, but I do take this.)
And most of us in the US are fortunate enough to get enough of the basic macronutreints (fat, carbohydrate, protein) and micronutrients (Vitamin A, C, B’s, E, etc) in our diets from fortified foods. Yet we are still sick, overweight, and dying earlier and earlier.
The real deficiency is a lack of PHYTOnutrients
and even though they aren’t essential to keep you alive,
they are what help you thrive, increase health and prevent disease.
I don’t want to just exist/survive, slowly limping along til death takes me; I want to thrive and phyto’s help us do that.
Using herbs every day is a great way to increase our exposure to phytonutrients we aren’t getting elsewhere.
My personal goal is that we learn how to use herbs every day in fun and tasty ways for prevention not just waiting until we are sick and using them as a natural-pharmaceutical.
I mean, sure, you could swallow herb pills and tablets but where is the fun in that? I’d rather infuse herbs in what we eat and drink already. And chocolate. Always add chocolate.
But back to my point!
So know we know that herbs not only increase the variety of phytonutrients we are exposed to, but also gently work with our bodies innate healing ability to restore balance and improve health.
For each recipe I will tempt you with just a few nuggets of information about each herb and how it can be an ally in your life.
You excited to start adding herbs to your daily routine? Let’s get to the recipes.
Nope, no patchouli in this drink, just elderberries. But elderberries are pretty groovy too! Elder is immune-enhancing and known for it's abilities to speed recovery in colds, flus, and other upper respiratory infections. I will often just take a swig of my elderberry syrup as a preventative measure, which is pretty tasty on it's own, but this takes decadence to a new level because everything is better with chocolate! To make this hot chocolate you first need to make Cacao-Elderberry Syrup.
1/2 cup dried elderberries
4 cups water
3 tbsp coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup
3 tbsp organic cacao
Add elderberries and water to saucepan. Bring to boil, then lower to a simmer for 30-40 minutes. Smash the berries and strain into large bowl. Whisk in sweetener and cacao until blended. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 months (if you don't drink it all first). You can take 1-2 tbsp per day as an immune-strengthener or more frequently if ill.
Hippie Hot Chocolate
2 tbsp Cacao-Elderberry Syrup
8-12 oz almond, cashew, hemp, flax or other milk of your choice
cinnamon, honey, cacao
Warm milk in saucepan over low. Add Cacao-Elderberry syrup and stir until thoroughly mixed. Taste and adjust flavor with more syrup, cinnamon, extra sweetener or even more cacao until you get the flavor you like!
Boy, do I wish I had a picture of my muffins…but alas, they were gone before I could get a shot! Next time I make them I will post a picture (or hey, if you make them take a photo and send it to me!).
Lemonbalm & Rosehip Muffins
A slightly tangy, grain and dairy-free muffin that tastes like spring! Rosehips and lemonbalm both taste a little sweet and sour which adds a nice subtle, lemon-y flavor to the muffins. Lemonbalm is my favorite! It is calming and refreshing. It is well-know for it's ability to soothe nervousness, anxiety and even insomnia. Now, eating this in the muffin isn't like taking a Xanax or Ambien. But you are getting a small dose which will nourish your nervous system so that it can work to the best of it's ability. Rosehips contain more vitamin C (and lots of other bioflavinoids too!) than almost any other herb and even more than most citrus. With a rich complex of naturally occurring antioxidants, this makes rosehips a much safer choice than isolated antioxidant pills.
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
1/3 cup coconut sugar, rapadura or raw sugar
4 organic, non-gmo eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp organic vanilla extract
1/4 cup cut and sifted, dried rosehips
1/4 cup dried lemonbalm leaves
Preheat over to 350*. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease the muffin tin well.
In a large bowl, blend the dry ingredients: coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda. In another bowl, whisk coconut oil and coconut sugar. Add eggs and mix. Add applesauce and vanilla.
Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add rosehip and lemonbalm. Fold into batter.
Pour batter into the tins and bake for about 20 minutes. Delicious drizzled with lemonbalm-infused honey!
If you need any herbs, I get mine from here. When you purchase through this link, you get the same great price as if you went directly to the website AND you help me keep this website running, so I thank you!
So are you inspired to work herbs into your daily routine? Which recipe are you going to try? Take a picture, post it on facebook and tag me! I would love to see what you create!
All the best, always,
PS-Do you like these herbal recipes? Please share them your friends!